the terrifying race
by Berl Chism
There are two solutions for the increasingly terrible problem of race relations in our country. One solution is absolute law enforcement and justice by an all-wise and powerful legal authority. The other is a change of heart on the part of all those who are "hateful and hating one another."
God's Word, the Bible, teaches that one day Jesus Christ the Lord will be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God and obey not the gospel. 2 Thess. 1:7-9. When He returns to earth, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. Christ will rule the world with a rod of iron and with perfect equity for the meek of the earth. Universal peace and prosperity will then prevail. Rev. 11:15; Isaiah 11:1-9. He, who can read men's very thoughts, will then act as the all-wise, all-powerful judge and enforcer of the law.
In the meantime Christ sits on the throne of GRACE, manifesting God's goodness to sinners and offering salvation to all who will turn to Him and obey the gospel. Rom. 5:20,21; Heb. 4:14-16; Rev. 22:17. And as God deals in undeserved kindness with the worst, as well as the least, of sinners, He allows lawlessness to continue without immediately apprehending and penalizing the offenders. So until He returns to judge the world, the only real SOLUTION for our problem of race relations is through a change of heart in people. It is one thing to TALK of love for our fellow man; it is quite another thing to actually have intelligent, self-denying love for others. Who today has such love? Do the hate-mongering leaders of the black power movements? Do the white politicians? Are Martin Luther King, Jr., and other Negro leaders who advocate non-violent protest truly for such love ? Bible-believing Christians are sure that no one is characterized by this love but those who have heeded the words of the Lord Jesus, ". . . If any man will come after me, let him DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Matt. 16:24,25. The Bible further teaches that when an individual thus comes to the end of himself and finds new life in Christ, he has "the love of God" shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit. Rom. 5:5. This love suffereth long, and is kind; it envieth not; vaunteth not itself, and is not puffed up; it doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; it beareth all things; believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things; and it never faileth. 1 Cor. 13:4-8.
I quote again from Matt. 16:25, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it . . ." What is this race conflict all about ? Is it not simply a great LIFESAVING attempt ? Does it not vividly bear out the inspired question and answer given by James, "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members ?" James 4:1.
We, as individuals, have before us two possible courses to take in endeavoring to aid in solving the race problems. (1) We can either try to save the world, or (2) we can try to save people OUT of the world.
We can endeavor through social, political, economical and educational reform to right the wrongs and injustices suffered by Negro people and to "equalize" their standing in society with that of the Whites. Many seem to be making sincere efforts to this end, but up to now they have had little success. Selfish greed, hatred and bloody vengeance demand far more than has been accomplished. Riots, wanton destruction, violent bloodshed and malignant hatred have been the reward of our "do-good, clean-up-the-world" politicians, social workers and preachers. Such human methods as more laws and increased Federal spending are obvious failures. Human means, such as can be pursued by any atheist or infidel, are clearly inadequate.
THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE WORLD'S TURMOIL
Some of us see from the Word of God that we are not to expect national and world conditions to "somehow" get better and better. Matt. 24:6,7; 2 Tim. 3:1-8, 13. We see the demonstration of Jeremiah 10:23, "0 LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself : it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps"; also Jeremiah 8:9, "The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them ?" We see that since the world rejected God's King, the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, saying, "Away with Him, crucify Him . . . We have no king but Caesar," that the King and prophesied Kingdom of God which He brought have been taken from earth, and the world has been left to its "Caesars." There has been, consequently, no enduring physical peace as earth's Caesars (civil rulers) have warred among themselves and oppressed their citizens. Even the comparatively sincere and honorable rulers have been unable to fully protect their people and rule them with equity. The Bible teaches that this world system has Satan for its god, is antagonistic toward God, His truth and His people, and is headed for judgment. 2 Cor. 4:4; John 15:18-21; 1 John 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Rev. 11:15-19; 14:14-20; 19:11-21.
AN INDIVIDUAL SOLUTION
Consistent with these truths is the teaching of God's Word that His solution today for the problems of men is an individual one. Instead of saving and cleaning up the world, God is saving INDIVIDUALS out of the world. Today, Christ is building His church rather than establishing the prophesied Kingdom of God on earth. The very meaning of the Greek word "ecclesia," from which our English word "church" is translated, is "a CALLED OUT company." Because the Jews rejected their Messiah, Jesus Christ, God has postponed the fulfillment of the many prophecies of their national salvation and restoration and simultaneous establishing of the universal reign of heaven on earth. Israel has fallen, and as the result of their fall, God has been "TAKING OUT of the Gentiles a people for His name" and putting them into one spiritual body (the church) with the Jews who have believed. Acts 15:14; Romans 11:11-12, 25; Ephesians 3:1-10.
In keeping with the church's "called out" character—its members being "strangers and pilgrims" in the earth (1 Peter 2:11)—the Lord has not left us believers here to be occupied with busily pouring buckets of pure, fresh water into the swollen stream of earthly pollution in an effort to purify it. We are rather, as those saved OUT of that vile river which flows down to destruction, to stand on its bank on the solid Rock, Christ Jesus, and throw out THE GOSPEL LIFE-LINE to lost people in the stream who are being swept toward death and judgment.
THE GOSPEL is that "Christ died FOR OUR SINS, was buried and rose again," and the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. 1 Cor. 15:1-5; Rom. 1:16. All who see themselves as helpless sinners, deserving of death, but who believe Christ has taken their death for them, and who receive Him as Saviour and Lord in grateful and unconditional surrender —all such are forgiven of their sins and instantly indwelt by God's Holy Spirit Who produces love, joy and peace in their hearts.
The only PERMANENT change that can be made in our society during this age of grace is that which comes as the result of transformed lives. The only power that can accomplish such a transformation is the power of God operating in the hearts of those who hear and believe the gospel. So the only effective way for Christians to change society for good is to preach the gospel of Christ and exemplify its work in their lives, thus influencing others to let it change them. Christians are told and commanded in Philippians 2:12-16, ". . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. DO ALL THINGS WITHOUT MURMURINGS AND DISPUTINGS: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, IN THE MIDST OF A CROOKED AND PERVERSE NATION, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; HOLDING FORTH THE WORD OF LIFE."
SEEING THINGS AS GOD SEES THEM
We hear much about the desirability of integrating the races. Since the decision of the United States Supreme Court that our public schools should be integrated, many ugly incidents have occurred as the Federal Government has tried to enforce this "law of the land." It has been clearly demonstrated that men cannot make laws that will change the hearts of their fellow men. But godly Christians do not need human laws to force them to do good to men. In fact the Spirit of God has plainly told us that "the law IS NOT made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient." 1 Tim. 1:9.
Unknown to the vast majority of people is the fact that Almighty God has both a segregation and an integration program. His present INTEGRATION program had its beginning long before the U. S. Supreme Court's edict in 1954. His SEGREGATION program is everlasting. THE WORLD sees earth's inhabitants divided... blacks and whites.
GOD WOULD HAVE US SEE THINGS AS HE DOES! Since the death of Christ for our sins and His resurrection, God sees earth's population segregated in this manner: Christ Rejectors and Christ Receivers separated by the cross of Jesus Christ.
In God's program the cross and the open tomb now segregate people, and this separation between believers and unbelievers, saved and lost, will continue forever. John 3:16-18; 3:36.
As recorded in 2 Corinthians 5:16, 17, the apostle Paul wrote at about A.D. 60, "WHEREFORE HENCEFORTH (from now on) KNOW WE NO MAN AFTER THE FLESH: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." And in Galatians 6:10, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, ESPECIALLY UNTO THEM WHO ARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH."
We can see from the scriptures that since the time of Acts chapter 10 (about A.D. 41), God has been integrating Gentile believers, both white and black, into the body of Christ by means of supernatural Spiritual baptism. 1 Cor. 12:12, 13; Eph, 3:1-10. In God's program, therefore, differences between peoples are NOT based on physical birth, physical religion or color of skin. The question now is, "Are you a born-again, new creature in Christ ? or are you merely another unregenerate member of Adam's fallen family ?" "Old things (old distinctions between peoples) have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Cor. 5:17. Believers are separated from unbelievers and united in Christ. All Christians are commanded to be "endeavoring to keep the (this) UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE."—Eph. 4:3-6.
TO NEGRO CHRISTIAN BRETHREN
A dear Negro brother in Christ has said that he will have no part with the "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" because he is sure it would be a denial of his advancement, his riches and his completeness IN CHRIST, and thus a lowering of himself. Eph. 1:3; Col. 2:10. Oh that all new creatures in Christ would see their wonderful advancement in Him and quit minding the things of the flesh, quit wrestling against flesh and blood, and really get into "the good fight of faith." Romans 8:5-10; Ephesians 6:11-18; 1 Tim. 6:12.
GOD IS NOT, at this time, FOR THE PHYSICAL ADVANCEMENT OF ANY PARTICULAR RACE OF PEOPLE ON EARTH. He has commanded Christians, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Col. 3:2. We are to "Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." Matt. 6:33; Luke 12:15.
It is true that black people have suffered much at the hands of the whites. It is also true that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Tim. 3:12. But our Lord Jesus Christ suffered far more than any of us ever has or will. Many are the commands to us to follow the example of suffering He has set for us. 1 Peter 2:20-23; 4:1-5; 4:12-17. Especially see Romans 12:14 through 13:14 with Hebrews 13:5, 6 for clear instructions for days like these.
If the black people become equal to the whites in society, or above them, we may be assured that they will find no more joy, peace and satisfaction from the accomplishment than the white people have had in their "superiority." Whites need
Christ just as surely as do Negroes. Christ is the answer for both, and He suffices for the few who receive and submit to Him, regardless of what the multitudes do. Follow Christ and those whose faith and manner of life will strengthen you to walk according to God's Word—whether they are white or black. But ". . . mark them which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE WHICH YE HAVE LEARNED; AND AVOID THEM. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." Romans 16:17,18.
TO WHITE-SKINNED CHRISTIAN BRETHREN
God's people are commanded to "have not the faith our our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons." James 2:1. There are practical problems for us (as well as for our Negro brethren ) in endeavoring to obey this command; but let us not think we can ignore it. Let us remember the prayer of the Lord Jesus for the unity of believers in Him: John 17:20, 21, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." It is Satan's purpose to divide God's people and render their testimony and good soldiering for Christ of none effect. Satan would have us follow divisive leaders and fight one another rather than, as we are commanded, "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel: and in nothing terrified by your adversaries." Phil. 1:27,28.
Spirit-led Christians (Romans 8:14) can surely determine what God would have them do in every situation into which the Lord leads them or in which He allows them to be. Such questions as inter-racial marriage and the degree and type of physical association between Christians of different races are settled by determining what will glorify and honor Christ and His testimony. The question of race is not the only consideration in marriage and association with people. By God's grace we can frankly and without prejudice consider and find the answers to whatever practical problems we face in our relationships with others.
Let us remember Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence: FOR OUT OF IT ARE THE ISSUES OF LIFE."
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